"A Broader World" – Kenny Wisdom on the Community and What You Can Do About It


#22

Since you named this section as addressing me, I’ll respond. If you get the feeling that we’re starting to go in circles - you’d not be the only one.

The claim that “women in the game face inequalities more disproportionately than men do” is a truth claim and now… neither you, nor Kenny, nor Denise, nor anyone else has provided any evidence of it. Simply put, a few anecdotes and hearsay do not make a broad community-wide state as the claim is put forth. And in fact, what I found in a few minutes of Google searching regarding Denise’s own presence and status in the Pokemon community speak against this claim.

Furthermore, even if we - the playerbase - accepted this claim outright with no question, it in no way justifies framing and addressing the issue from the perspective of socially divisive Feminist gender theory as Kenny did which intentionally divides communities into (opposing) groups and polarizes them (which - if you’ve read any feminist literature - is exactly what it’s designed to do) even as it “preaches” unity and inclusiveness.

The fact that each successive supporter of Kenny’s article has now come on here to essentially parrot the “this topic isn’t political” line when in fact, no one said the topic of an inclusive community (I call it good sportsmanship, pick whatever term you like) was in itself political or gendered. But to specifically address the topic in the framework of Feminist terms and accusations… and further to act as if that’s the ONLY legitimate way to address it … frankly causes one to wonder where you all were indoctrinated at and whether your minds are truly so small as to think this is the only way to address this topic. I would encourage you to think outside of such narrow-minded thinking.

I don’t mean to say this to be rude, but clearly if it’s been spoken against and not one of you has even stopped to say “Well, that’s an interesting objection. Would you share with us a better way you feel that would reach the same goal” and instead carry on repeatedly untruthful characterizations of the objection (the strawman fallacy) and then arguing against it - at what point do you realize your conversation isn’t even being honest to the actual conversation being had?

The argument was that it is the clear expectation of the paying members that Sixprizes promoted itself to be a resource about the game. I stand by that characterization. I’ve been actively using Sixprizes for a year and a half (which I understand is a drop in the bucket to some) but I have seen it go through the more recent changes. Nothing in that led me to believe that Sixprizes was intentionally branching into controversial politically charged rhetoric to allow advocating of unfounded claims of “toxicity” and “misogyny” in the playerbase. I challenge you to show me where this was publicly presented to the Sixprizes users prior to this article.

Further, I did talk with both Adam and Christopher privately and I dialogued with Christopher in this thread and it was the general response that they did not intend that giving Kenny a “platform” amounted to official endorsement of his views and comments. In light of that, I did amend my earlier comments with notes to reflect the acknowledgement that this wasn’t an official view of Sixprizes. In fact, their professionalism and business practices (which were admirable in my view) were a compelling reason for me to consider continue paying for the other content that Sixprizes offers that I do find useful.

I will reiterate again, if the intent is to take the website in a political direction, that should not be subtly hidden and effected with articles expressing controversial viewpoints (then duly distanced by Sixprizes staff). It should be notified openly - and the userbase given the opportunity to continue or walk away from the “new direction” the site will take. This is simply the respectful position any business should take with its customers (since we’re talking about being respectful of people). I affirmed from the beginning it is the right of the Sixprizes team to take the site in any direction they choose. But there’s a big difference in doing so openly and doing so underhandedly.

It is my impression at this time that Sixprizes simply allowed Kenny to publish a controversial article. And Christopher said that an opposing view would even be similarly entertained if it was desired. Fair enough. I won’t let my son read Sixprizes then. But I can understand where they as an editorial team are coming from.

If that changes, I will absolutely re-evaluate my position on Sixprizes as a site. And I think others should as well.

I wholeheartedly agree that encouraging basic human decency is something we should all seek and support. That is NOT A GENDERED VALUE STATEMENT. Do I need to repeat that? It is NOT a gendered issue to encourage all players… to treat all players … with basic human dignity and decency.

Thus, you are supporting my position - not Kenny’s or Denise’s.

Why in the world would we take a non-gendered issue like basic human decency - and choose to address it in the framework of ultimately divisive terms and groups that Feminist gender theory forces into the discussion? However can you rationalize the logic of calling men “toxic” and “misogynist” (terms of alienation that divide and put people on the defensive by the way) under the guise of advocating “inclusiveness”?

This is the same ridiculousness as claiming to be tolerant of everything except intolerance. In other words, it’s logical hogwash. Claiming to be tolerant of everything except those whose views you don’t like is not tolerance at all. It’s bigotry masquerading under the guise of virtue signaling. Claiming to be inclusive of everyone but those whose views you don’t like isn’t inclusiveness at all. It’s the opposite. It’s a lie. Please stop perpetuating the lies.

Again, if a person cannot comprehend of a way to promote inclusiveness for ALL… without attacking a group to do it (understanding that attacking anyone isn’t being inclusive) then THAT person has the problem. THEY are hypocritical. THEY are bigoted. THEY are the ones with the blinded paradigm. And it is very likely that the “injustices” they feel are the result of their deepseated (and unacknowledged) bigotry being projected onto the group they despise.

Yes, we, as a community, can and should consider the social dynamics of our interactions with each other. But if the insistence is that we must engage in hypocrisy and alienation language to do it… then I submit that that is - as I said before - not only unproductive, it is counter-productive.

If you choose to argue something I said, please engage on the necessity to frame this discussion in gender polarizing terms and frameworks. THAT is the contention. For you or anyone else to keep talking as if the objection was to basic human decency is at this point rank dishonesty to what’s been said - over… and over… and over again.


#23

This sounds about right to me. If there was to be an overt shift in focus, it’d probably come with a renewed emphasis on the Opinion and Culture categories and be accompanied by a discussion in the foreword of one of my articles. This nature of content is not going to be an intentional theme.


#24

This sounds like a respectful way to approach it and one I would support (as I suspect others would as well). Thanks for the clarity, Chris.


#25

Explicitly disclaiming that these are my feelings and not an editorial explanation:

I want to note that @jenicely’s point about childhood viewing of this sort of content is something I would not have considered prior to this publication, but is something that resonates with me at this time. My impression from talking to folks is that young readers are a small pool, so this is the kind of thing I want to hear either way when it comes up.

As I told Kenny on Twitter a bit ago: at 11 I would have taken poorly the assertion that I, non-exaggeratingly without male friends in the world, was causing my female friends implicit discomfort by being born how I was. This would’ve been a poor introduction to the themes implicitly present.

It’s been expressed to me that nothing here should be controversial, or of a nature to affect anything I’ve just said. I’m not sure that’s true, but I don’t think I’d have doubts either if reading adolescent psychology wasn’t my general way of killing flights. I believe it’s a real issue.

I think we’re all coming at this from different angles and want to caution against making it personal.

(With a 6P hat again):
Further, if anyone else is out there with similar or related concerns, I want to hear it, as this is something I want to be aware of generally speaking and more voices are always helpful.


#26

Chris, I think you make an excellent observation that we’re all approaching the same goal of an inclusive, respectful community from different angles. While I believe there’s a most productive way to reach that goal and thus, lesser productive ways as well, I think it’s important to recognize and affirm that fact that all of us here expressing opinions are - at the root - doing so from a place of genuinely wanting to see the best Pokemon community that we can.

I think that’s awesome and something to be highlighted.

If there’s anything I appreciated about Kenny’s article, it was his apparent desire to try to offer practical examples of positive behavior. Now, we can differ on whether a behavior or approach is truly as positive as it’s claimed, but again - let’s focus on the truly positive here:

Giving practical examples of good, inclusive behavior is a benefit that encourages people to not only think about their experiences, but to lead them to consider ways to improve.

In that spirit, I think it’d be awesome to have some ideas offered from those reading this on ways they have sought to bridge they gaps they saw around them. Whether those gaps were age related (which to be honest seems a far more prevalent divide than gender in my experience), skill related, resource related (as in, players who just don’t have the means to accrue competitive cards but still want to play), or any other gaps - to include gender gaps if that’s what you truly feel you had to bridge.

But instead of framing it in the “you should” directive manner (which is more polarizing), let’s approach from “Here’s what I saw, and here’s what I did. How have you approached a similar situation or how do you think you would approach a similar situation?” which is less aggressive in tone and more engendering of productive conversation. Does that make sense?

Here, I’ll start:

I am fortunate enough to be blessed to have three local game shops around me that I regularly visit. One for a league, one for a regular weekly pack tournament, and one for weekly casual play. Each one has it’s own group dynamic (largely based around the age of the attendees).

At the League, we encounter a lot of younger players (7-14) coming with parents and then experienced players (21-40+) who travel the shop/event circuits and parents. Many of the young players are first-timers or have been playing less than a few months. This presents an age and skill gap to overcome. Thankfully, many of the experienced players are also patient teacher-types who plan ahead, have a tier 4+ deck read (read, won’t decimate the other player), and take the turns slow and teach the players how to read cards, follow the gameplay, and point out strategies. Myself and the other older adults both lead in this role and go out of our way to thank these other experienced players for their willingness to step into this kind of role and we encourage the newer players to express appreciation as well. It builds strong respect to see players of all levels come together around the enjoyment that is Pokemon.

At the pack tournament shop, a slightly different dynamic emerges. This is a distinctly more competitive tone as players are coming with the intent of winning and taking home prize packs with the decks they’ve worked on in their Leagues. The age range is similar to the League makeup - several 9-12 year olds, a few 20-25 year olds, and a few of us in the 35+ category (usually parents). In this competitively charged atmosphere, it’s far more common to hear the table talk spill over from playful banter to sometimes just trash talk. The adults and older players take an active role in speaking up to cool down any aggressive tones that would detract from the friendly nature of the play - reminding them that good sportsmanship is the expected standard of play. Gracious winning and gracious losing is something the adults take the lead on showing - and reminding the players who edge toward frustrations (as happens) to follow our example. If a player reaches a frustration point where it is difficult for them to keep a good attitude about the game in general, usually an adult or older player will step over, offer to help them look over their deck and engage them in dialogue to bring them back into the spirit of the game. We look after our own.

The third shop with casual play is the most rambunctious to be sure with a regular mixed demographic of 16-24 year old men and women. Again, as an older player, I intentionally built a strong relationship with the store staff when I first began visiting to establish trust as not only a serious player, but a player willing to help others. The staff there regularly request my help with managing events and interacting with the regular attendees (some of whom are a bit more - shall we say, challenging, than others). I intentionally bring extra decks of various levels to be able to battle players at their skill level (and deck makeup) and when the match is over, offer to go over their decks and talk through considerations on card choices. Being fortunate enough to have a pretty large supply of extra cards, I take extras that I don’t mind handing out as needed to help a players deck. Sure, I’m not handing out a Tapu Lele (but I did sit out of a theme deck tournament where Lele’s were the prize so someone else could win after I won the first two tournaments offered), but I think we probably all have Shauna’s and Hau’s to spare. Teaching the importance of draw support and supporter management to a lesser experienced player is a key skill. I picked up around 150 Ultra Balls and 100 or so Great Balls this past week from TCGplayer to have them on hand to give out. This is my 3rd time doing that over the past 2 years. They’re cheap and they’re staples sure - but still not everyone has them and the rapport you can build with a player when you willingly bridge a gap of resources for them is huge. I get it that not everyone can do that, but I believe attitudes are just as important as actions. It’s hard to be disrespectful to anyone when you are actively seeking and creating opportunities to be helpful to them. And I believe that’s what we should be teaching - good attitudes. We should be the positive role models. Which is far more effective than trying to police words and phrases.

I’d love to hear how anyone else encountered and bridged a gap in their Pokemon journey. Perhaps if we collect enough solid “best practices” stories from around the user base here we can compress it into an article on “Recommended practices to better the Pokemon community where you are” or something like that.

And it’s super late here on east coast now so I’m signing off for the night!


#27

Shorter version of @jenicely argument :

  1. “Prove it”
  2. “All Lives Matter”, or at least the gender equivalent.

“Prove it” arguments are always nice, giving the appearance of rationality, until you realize that the threshold for proof is always once sided. Kenny clearly stated that “all” of his women friends had been made to feel uncomfortable. Denise clearly linked to a poll indicating concerning experiences faced by Pokemon women. The counter-proof was … I have a daughter who plays and haven’t seen anything that concerns me. I’m fairly willing to score this for “ok, there’s probably an issue in the community” without being a feminist.

As a side note: I’m a parent of a son and daughter. I’m fairly certain (i.e. know from experience) that my daughter’s first reaction to facing this kind of issue would be to internalize it. You might want to consider checking with your daughter to see if she’s doing the same thing.

“All Lives Matter” arguments rely on people missing the fact that discrimination is not a symmetric argument; it is the “unjust” treatment of different categories. If a statement advocates redressing a discriminatory gender situation by focusing on the experiences of women, the statement isn’t discriminatory (or “political”, or “feminist”), it’s called “justice”. I’m not sure any meaningful social injustice has been redressed by stating, simply, that “everyone should be treated the same way” (though that sentiment is, ultimately, at the heart of justice). Happy to be proven wrong.

My family plays PTCGO only and could care less about “Pokemon community” content on this site. It’s not what I pay for, either; I just want to know what new “previously unimagined levels of broken” version of Gardevoir is the flavor of the day. But I’m more than happy to keep my subscription knowing that there’s an outside chance an article might lead to my having an interesting conversation with my kids.


#28

Actually, I tried to move the conversation forward respectably for all viewpoints involved - but apparently no, the intent isn’t to actually address problems in the community - it’s to demand that we label and polarize people under a partisan political framework and all ideas to the contrary must be disparaged.

Actually, no.

It would read like this:

  1. All evidence actually points to females having equal access to the game and respected voices in the community (when they want to be). Denise and her ilk are proof of this as are many others (including my local experiences). This is far from “prove it” as if there were no evidence in play. It’s the fact that there is evidence in play and it disproves the claim of the article.

  2. Polls aren’t proof of anything. Take for instance the nearly ubiquitous 2016 election polls projecting a Clinton win. I rest my case. Any person with a bare introduction to polling and stats knows that polls can be skewed, that self-reporting is unreliable, and that people with an agenda should NOT be believed when they release polls that “prove” their point. I have a mathematics degree. Pardon me if I don’t accept such an obvious problematic source of “proof” in light of what I professionally know and have experienced.

  3. Even if we accept the claim of gender-based discrimination as real, why is there an insistence on using politically partisan, group dividing and polarizing rhetoric to address it? This makes no sense and is actually counter-productive to the STATED goals (unless of course the stated goals are disingenuous and the real goals are left unstated - which is the case with radical feminism and I suspect here as well)

  4. Since we all want the most accepting community possible, why are the supporters of the article insisting on legitimizing it as if that approach was THE ONLY WAY - when clearly it isn’t. Again, this speaks to agenda - and not to actually making a better community.

And finally,

  1. When given the opportunity to engage on building a better community without the politically polarizing language, if a group refuses to do so, can we assume they aren’t really as interested in building a better community as they are in asserting their own brand of conversation control over the discussion?

I invited the readers of this forum to follow in the expressed example of the article author to give examples of how they approached and addressed gaps (even opening it up beyond mere gender). I then gave three of my own examples - each addressed from a non-gendered approach that any person looking for an example to follow could emulate. No one has followed similar suite.

I said I didn’t want to get into a political discussion, but seriously with statements like “Social justice is justice” and “Focusing on the (subjective) experiences of one group over another isn’t discriminatory” (which it is… it just SAID it was) we’re moving solidly into having to discuss political systems of beliefs. Not facts, not logic - beliefs. Where blatant hypocrisy and lies are glossed over for the sake of party line.

So yeah, “all lives matter - equally” and it’s bigotry (and hypocrisy) to argue otherwise. You can try to obfuscate the reality with construct-based assertions of “power systems” and other gender studies nonsense, but there’s a reason why lefties don’t debate folks like Ben Shapiro. If the insistence is to make this a political argument, then let’s get on with it. There are no safe spaces from the logical, factual, reasonable truth.


#29

Regarding points 1 and 2: Kenny and Denise provided ample direct evidence of discrimination towards women: the unjust treatment (i.e. being made to feel unwelcome) based on their gender. Those data points, in and of themselves and without any need to extrapolate to a broader population, indicate discrimination.

Though I find it interesting that I have never, in the history of Pokemon (or my time in MtG before it), seen a similar account about the plight of men, such data would be irrelevant to the account of discrimination of women established by Kenny and Denise. At best it would point to, perhaps, having another gender discrimination issue focused on men. Gender discrimination doesn’t cancel out in some kind of “fair access” calculus, as you’ve done. Discrimination is a scalar, not a vector.

Regarding points 3, 4 and 5: you’re right, approaching it from the perspective of women isn’t the only way. We’re just arguing that Kenny’s urging that we “listen to the experiences of women” is the best way. The Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage movements in the US clearly demonstrate the power of framing the discussion in terms of the discriminated group (rather than arguing for equality in the abstract). But if you have a counter argument (e.g. a real-world example where “All Lives Matter” has actually redressed discrimination), I’d love to hear it.


#30

Anecdotes and hearsay aren’t evidence. Sorry, not in any legitimate discussion is that acceptable. I assume you wanted to have a legitimate discussion, right?

I don’t believe anyone made a case for a plight of men. I have never seen, heard, or reviewed any evidence of actual discrimination (systemic or otherwise) in the game of Pokemon against anyone. As was noted above by another poster, if such existed, it is already against the rules and should be handled by the event judges. THAT is the proper way to handle it - if it even exists. If there was a coordinated effort by any subgroup in Pokemon to push dark haired women out, I agree that such a movement would be different than say a similar effort to push out blonde haired men. But all of that is beside the point here because the evidence doesn’t exist to support that anyone is being pushed out of the game. A few words that someone didn’t like doesn’t amount to systemic effort to silence and alienate women as a whole. Kenny’s article was frankly laughable in it’s “examples” of “problematic” behavior.

Women’s suffrage was based on the premise that “all votes matter”. Civil Rights was based on the premise that there was no difference between black and white - in effect “all lives matter”. The current political theory of “listening to a group’s experience” is actually very new and serves an entirely different political purpose that reaching equality. It’s why things like Feminism are referred to in first, second, and third waves - they are very different movements with very different tactics and goals. Frankly it doesn’t matter whether you agree with “All lives matter”. To disagree is to reveal a mindset that bigotry can be sanctioned if it’s against an approved group.

I flatly reject that polarizing men and women is the best way to address any gaps - if they even exist. It’s a self-refuting approach that must utilize the very mechanisms it claims to fight. Illogical and hypocritical at the same time. Consider: “If it’s true that men are discriminating against women, then we should discriminate against men in order to elevate the voices of women”. How asinine on its face. It only proves that the proponents of these tactics actually have no qualms with discrimination (or sexism, or racism, etc). They simply want to harness its power to oppress the the groups they want to oppress. Hence, Kenny’s article can blanketly accuse males in the community of “toxicity” and “misogyny” - a discriminatory and alienating attack - all the while claiming to be about creating “inclusiveness”. It’s a straight lie. Kenny’s article was about creating division and creating a hostile environment to anyone who disagreed with him. Kenny’s article evidences that he people like him (Denise, etc) don’t really want an inclusive environment for everyone… they just want an inclusive environment for those who agree with them.


#31

Here we are, back to the “Prove it!” line of argument. Would you actually need to be sitting behind Kenny or Denise when they spoke with the women in question to find that acceptable? You’ll forgive me if I don’t find you the most reliable measurement device.

I agree that discrimination doesn’t negate discrimination. That’s exactly why I said that discrimination is a scalar, not a vector. If you have men discriminating against women and women against men, you just have more discrimination, not less.

The movement was called “Women’s” suffrage, not “Universal” Suffrage. Martin Luther King Jr spent most of his “I have a dream” speech talking about the plight of his people. Why not just call the movement “Universal Suffrage”? Why wouldn’t Martin Luther King Jr. have just launched straight into “I have a dream”, rather than risking, by discussing the plight of his people, the alienation of whites who were probably sympathetic to the “I have a dream” vision but might not like hearing about the plight of his people? Because “all lives matter” (or the Pokemon equivalent you discuss above) is a bad strategy to affect change. Nobody is saying that all votes/lives don’t matter; we’re simply saying that, as a strategy of affecting change (compared to empathy with the group in question), “all lives matter” has absolutely no successes to point to. I suspect your remedies above would meet the same fate.

But “all lives matter” folks like it that way. That’s how they avoid having to affect change in the first place.


#32

So let me get this straight - You don’t find me and my experience (and use of logic) to be credible… but you accept Kenny and Denise’s attestation (without evidence) as credible?

You’re basically just saying you’ll accept what already fits with your belief. I would have to ask you the same question as to what evidence would you accept that Pokemon is - as a game community - inclusive to all? It is unreasonable to accept anecdotal claims as proof of a systemic discrimination. But that’s literally the best you have if we granted everything that’s been presented so far.

So I guess we’re at an impasse there because I don’t find you (or Kenny, or Denise) to be particularly reliable measuring devices either.

Agreed, yet what Kenny called for was discrimination against men and what you’ve advocated is the same. If discrimination against women exists, it cannot reasonably be corrected by silencing men (or shaming them or attacking them). The “listen to women’s experiences” theme however does just that. It silences men as a group to elevate women as a group to a position where their “voices” can’t be critiqued. That’s not equality… that’s out and out privilege.

By your own admission you should be on my side, not on the side of Feminism as Kenny and Denise have advocated.

In a free marketplace of ideas, EVERYONE gets a voice. Denise proved that women have a voice by exercising it here. There’s no bar to it and no one told her to leave and she was not banned for speaking. The fact that she chose to leave the conversation was her own. And like all choices, we are responsible for the consequences. But there is no bar for access to women in the Pokemon community by her own example. The examples that Kenny cited are frankly laughable as compelling evidence of “non inclusiveness”. Seriously, asking someone if they’re someone else’s girlfriend is somehow wrong now? People ask social get to know you questions all the time. If he had an example of a female player being barred from play… that’d be different. But… he doesn’t. Because that doesn’t exist.

It’s not the movement name that matters - it how it conducted itself. The Suffrage movement didn’t demand that men be barred from voting until women had been able to make their mark on politics. The equivalent of “men should be silent so women’s voices can be heard” or “we should listen to women’s experiences” (implying not listening to men’s experiences).

Rather, after identifying a real (not perceived) gap in voting access - they simply set about to open the access.

The civil rights movement was the same way. Martin Luther King Jr was NOT of the same ilk as the modern leftist. There was no call to place blacks above whites… merely to provide equal access as whites had. MLK didn’t demand that white voices be silenced so that black voices could be heard. He simply told his story and asked people to listen. That’s a fundamental difference from what Kenny and you have advocated. You’ve called for female voices to be elevated above male voices and advocated that their female voices be immune from scrutiny. You’ve advocated for female privilege - not equality. As Denise said, her goal was to create a community “conducive” to females - that’s not equality of access, that’s tilting the board in a desired group’s favor to encourage their growth which is sexism against men and for women. It’s bigotry, but in her mind it’s “good” bigotry because it brings about the state which she desires.

In essence, I’ve called for an approach just like the Women’s Suffrage movement and the original Civil Rights movement. If there can be shown to be some bar to access in Pokemon (which… there hasn’t been shown at all), then we should absolutely, as a community and as a game, remove the bar to access.

However, I am strictly against tilting the “community” in any group’s favor. Let the game be what it is and whomever is interested to be a part - let them able to be a part. Let all voices be heard if they so desire to speak. Let ideas be valuated on the merits of the ideas - not because of the gender or status of the presenter.

This is an asinine statement. Seeing how it’s been the “all lives matter” folks who removed the bars to access for both women AND blacks… I’d say they’ve shown a lot of willingness to change when change made sense.

Those who advocate for special groups are simply about power. They don’t have a problem with sexism, racism, or any other -ism you can come up with. They just want to harness it’s power for their own ends.

Show me the bar to access for ANY group in Pokemon. Show me and I’ll work like hell right along with you to remove it. But if you can’t prove a bar to access - then this conversation is pointless - as was the article.


#33

Reading this is about as inspirational as Lil Pump’s lyrical talent.